Updated curbside recycling program to start

Published 9:21 am Friday, November 8, 2013

Freeborn County residents with curbside recycling pickup can anticipate the delivery of new recycling bins starting the week of Nov. 18.

The bins are part of a new seven-year contract between Freeborn County and Waste Management, which expands on the materials that can be recycled and updates the manner in which recyclables are collected.

As soon as people get their 64-gallon recycling bins, they can begin using them, said Colin Wittmer, with Freeborn County Environmental Services. The bins are green with yellow lids.

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Cans, plastic, glass and paper can all be placed in the same bin and no longer need to be separated, Wittmer said. If people would like to place their paper in a paper sack or small cardboard box, they may still do so and then place them in the bin.

The recycling bins will be lifted up and dumped out by a truck instead of by crews who manually dump each type of material into separate compartments.

Previously, people who recycle were required to provide their own bins and then separate their recyclable items by material based on a series of rules.

“We really encourage people to use their can,” he said. “They’re already paying for the service of recycling on their taxes, so they might as well put what’s recyclable in there. They might be able to save some money.”

Under the new contract, there will be no increase to taxpayers for the changes. Residents pay $30 annually.

Wittmer said more counties are moving toward automated sorting, which does not require that the recyclable items be sorted out ahead of time. The nearby county of Steele and city of Minnesota Lake are already on board.

“It’s kind of getting to be the way recycling works,” he said. “Statistics show there’s a lot higher participation when there’s co-mingling.”

He said families are asked to try out the 64-gallon bins, and if they are in need of an additional bin they can request one.

Wittmer asked that residents do not dispose of plastic bags in the bins and instead recycle them at area grocery stores. The bags can plug up the machinery.

A new item that can be recycled is paper fiber egg cartons.

If people have questions, they can call the phone number listed on the recycling bin. The recycling schedule will not change.